Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Behind the filter tracks by Mark Eckert

(Crew Chief) “Don’t Clean the Filter Tracks This Time…We’ll Get Them Next Service…”

I just returned from a tour in the US performing numerous inspections in various states and, once again, finding the same results – “cleaners” leaving dangerous conditions with filter tracks loaded with stored fuel inside and behind from a recent service. I thought to myself, well, at least I see consistency. 

All of the cleaners Certificate of Performance (hood sticker) had reference stating in one way or another – “Cleaned in accordance to NFPA 96…”.

I was thinking to myself – “Don’t these folks understand this discipline and the corresponding Standard referred to on their sticker?”  Even if one was to throw out the 96 and ANSI C10 Standards and just have a little common sense – doesn’t it make more sense to remove the stored fuel closest to the fire source?

Of course, everyone reading this article can probably quote Sec. 11.6.1 “If upon inspection, the grease exhaust system is found to be contaminated with deposits from grease-laden vapors, the contaminated portion of the exhaust system shall be cleaned…” (emphasis mine)

So the real questions I asked is why? Why are these companies leaving these systems in dangerous conditions, misleading a customer into believing their hood & duct system is safe upon departing the property? (This opinion assumes there can actually be some danger in leaving stored fuel in the system.)  So many of us will remember a most often quoted statement by Barney Besal: “There are two kinds of restaurants – ones that have had a fire and the ones who will be having their fire.” So yes, there is danger, even great danger leaving this fuel stored so close to ignition point and yet, I find it EVERYWHERE I go. Stored fuel feeds the start of a fire and helps it grow.

Seems to me there are only a few answers to this question of why leave a system in this non-compliant condition. Give this some thought:

1.     These companies do not believe in grease exhaust fires that grow due to stored fuel, therefore, they don’t require all fuel removed.
2.     They do not have an audit system in place to look at their compliance workmanship.
3.     The sales team has priced the job too cheap and gotten approval from leadership in order to get the sale and then force the technician to depart the job too soon - not allowing sufficient time.

Maybe there is a #4 but I believe these three say it all. 

Here is the key question: Who’s ultimately at fault? Who is responsible?

I believe blame needs to start at the top. LeadershipLeadership – leads. Period. 

These other non-compliant cleaning companies need to change their methodology and accountability to achieve the required results or they should find another industry to be employed in not related to life safety. They should resolve to either follow these standards they often state on their hood sticker or remove the deception stating meets NFPA 96 Standard. By their deception, they are giving the customer a false sense of security - sleeping well at night because their system is assumed compliant. 

We need to continue to challenge our organization to be one of Integrity. We do what we say – clean to the NFPA 96 Standard, every time.

Mark Eckert - CESI

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